Three Up, Three Down: Penn men's soccer vs. No. 7 Penn State
Penn men’s soccer heads to Penn State on Wednesday to take on the No. 7 Nittany Lions. It seems to be Penn’s luck that a week after facing two top 15 ranked squads that it takes on another one so soon. With coach Rudy Fuller preparing his team with the best competition possible for Ivy play, we give you a Three Up, Three Down…
Forrest Clancy- The junior midfielder scored for the first time in his Penn career on Sunday, giving the Red and Blue a nice two-goal advantage against Big 5 rival Temple. While he may not always be relied on to score, Clancy will still be an important cog in Fuller’s system in the midfield. After a strong game against the Owls, he is certainly trending upward.
Max Polkinhorne and Penn’s defense- What’s the best way for a goalkeeper and defense to look good? A clean sheet, of course. Despite 12 shots being directed at the junior keeper, Polkinhorne was able to fend off each effort while the defense kept anything more threatening from getting his way. No. 10 Penn State will certainly be a tough test, especially after the Quakers dealt with then-No. 10 Washington and No. 12 American, but this defense should be up for it.
The bench- After Clancy’s goal on Sunday, junior Sam Engs added a goal himself, his second of the season and the fourth of his career. The California native has always come off the bench for Fuller and is a shining example of the depth that the Quakers have this season. If Engs and company can keep it up in the next few weeks, Penn’s depth can help overwhelm other Ivy League squads.
Penn State opponents’ possession numbers- The Nittany Lions dominated Ohio State from start to finish in their second Big Ten contest on Saturday. Penn State held possession for the majority of the match against the Buckeyes, and were able to fire off a whopping 22 shots. Of course, only one of those found the back of the net in a 1-0 Nittany Lions win.
Penn’s grueling stretch- Tonight’s match will be the final contest in a five game non conference swing that featured four road matches and three matchups against top 15 teams. Looking forward, the Quakers won’t be facing anyone that received a vote in the most recent NCAA top 25 poll.
Corner kicks- The Quakers haven’t had very many chances to get their set pieces in order in recent contests. Washington, American and Temple all held the Red and Blue to three or fewer corner kicks when they played each other. Against a Penn State squad that can assert its dominance early, the Quakers will need to establish a presence deep in the Nittany Lions’ defensive third of the pitch.